The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun at the weekend declared that the only thing that can salvage the country from its present ailing condition is for the people to effect change through the ballot box in 2015 general election to rescue Nigeria from total collapse.
He took a cursory look at the country’s 15 years after the return to democratic rule and concluded that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) government has indeed plunged the country into many woes. He said “The truth is our country is really sick and needed help.”
He charged Nigerians to vote PDP out of power in 2015 after 15 years of stagnation and agony, so as to bring development and growth.
The APC National Chairman, Chief Odigie-Oyegun made the declaration while delivering the 2014 lecture of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association held at the Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan.
He lamented the socio economic downturn of the country which he blamed on brazen corruption aided by top government officials and misrule since 1999 by the PDP government, saying that the atmosphere that pervades the nation today is that of uncertainty and despair.
In attendance at the well- attended lecture are the APC presidential aspirant, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal , Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, representatives of Osun, Ogun, Kwara States, former governor of Osun State, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, a onetime governor of Ekiti State, Chief Segun Oni, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, his Imo State counterpart, Rochas Okorocha represented by the Imo State House of Assembly Speaker, Benjamin Uwajimugo, Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed represented by the Commissioner for Housing, Mr. Bode Olayemi, the Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Isaac Adewole, students, members of the diplomatic corps, and captains of industry amongst others.
Chief Odigie-Oyegun in his lecture titled, “Nigeria, a trajectory of dashed expectation: Looking into the future with hope”, said while it remains an obvious truth that Nigeria, 54 years after, was perceived and still behaves like a toddler, there is no doubt that the country has suffered stunted growth as a result of gross leadership failure.
“This is exemplified by our failure, as a people, to use our huge human and material resources to galvanize development in our country, this in spite of being a leading oil producing nation in the world.
“Despite the fact the Nigeria’s economy is the largest in Africa, yet, it has not translated into a better living standard for the citizens. The people of Nigeria though amongst the world’s most talented, are today suffering from brain drain, unemployment and poverty. In reality, the country is suffering from administrative and management neglect, high unemployment, social deprivation, abject poverty, filth, squalor, insecurity and even increasing endemic ethnic and religious conflict. As the country is burdened by under development and insecurity challenges, the federal government being hamstrung in curtailing it, many are of the opinion that the country is sliding into chaos,” he stated.
While noting that today Nigerians are virtually in a country at war with itself with so much violence, the lecture said the truth is, our country is really sick and needed help, even as examined the progress being made in many areas of everyday living by countries not as endowed like Nigeria.
For example, Chief Odigie-Oyegun said, “there is economic growth in all OPEC member countries. In 2012, the fastest growing economies were Iraq, Libya, Nigeria and Qatar, while the least growing economies were Iran, Libya and Algeria. However, in Nigeria, it is apparent that the growth is yet to translate into tangible development. A quick check between Nigeria and her age mates shows clearly that while some of those who had independence same time with Nigeria have earned global reputation for their improved economies through manufacturing and export of their products, Nigeria still seems to rely on other countries for her survival.”
He accused the federal government of championing the cause of corruption when he related the alleged $9.3million and over $5 million cash for arms deal seized in South Africa, adding that the whole episode makes mockery of Nigeria as a nation.
He wondered why will the federal government resort to using private jets for such transactions with the avalanche of official aircraft at its disposal, stating that it was a clear case of money laundering now being white-washed by agents of the state as money meant for arms purchase.
“This is no time to lead the blind in our country. We are definitely leaving in difficult times beset with problems. These problems and difficulties are by and large man-made and we must not, as Frantz Fanon had warned, continue to waste our time in sterile litanies and nauseating mimicry. We must avoid a leadership that will not serve our collective interests,” he declared.
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Waziri Tambuwal, in his brief remarks bemoaned the state of education in the country, which he said needed urgent surgery.
He explained that over the past years the House had tried to ensure that education regained its glory, but blamed the executive for unnecessary interference in the legitimate role of the legislature in its oversight functions.
He, however, expressed hope for the future of the country, while urging for patience and understanding.
The governor of Oyo State , Senator Abiola Ajimobi in his address described the former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as the most stoic leader Nigeria ever produced, and stated that the message being sent by the arrays of leaders in the APC is that there is going to be Change and hope for Nigeria